Our Collection

The Month of March – Spring Cleaning (1926)

Drawing, Pen and ink on paper, 525mm x 728mm
Woman spring cleaning in kitchen with chairs stacked on table

This drawing for the Chatto & Windus Almanck, set in ‘Fernlea’, refers to a necessary annual ritual in the days of coal fires.

This was drawn for the Chatto & Windus Almanack 1927 where it appears as the second illustration for March. It refers to an annual ritual in the days of coal fires with figures rolling up the carpet and dusting. Some of the dining room chairs are stacked on the table. These chairs at Fernlea appear in other works by the artist. In his lists of Almanack subjects he identified the scene as “Spring cleaning Fernlea” and “Cleaning & dusting chairs on Table”. Spencer was born and brought up in Fernlea. He continued to live at home during his four years at the Slade, commuting daily to Gower Street. He talked so enthusiastically of his native village that he became known as ‘Cookham’ to his fellow students. He remained at home until 1915 when he volunteered for war service at the age of twenty-four. Through the generosity of patrons he was to return to Fernlea for the last few months of his life. It should be noted that Spencer spent over two thirds of his life in Cookham, though he was not always at Fernlea. Although he received his professional training at the Slade, the character of his art was the product of Fernlea and Cookham. The family interests of religion, literature and music, which formed the elements of his vision, were present from the beginning.